, Volume 3, Issue 1, pp 15–17 | Cite as

Age-differences in brain sensitivity and tolerance to ethanol in mice

  • R. F. Ritzmann
  • Alan Springer


The present study was designed to evaluate the effect of an acute injection of ethanol on the onset and the duration of the loss of righting response in mice of three different ages, 6, 12, and 24 months old. Measurements were made of the brain ethanol concentrations at the time the righting response was lost as an index of initial central nervous system sensitivity to ethanol. Brain ethanol levels were also measured at the time the righting response was regained. By comparing the difference between these levels and the levels at the time the response was lost, the ability to develop acute tolerance was determined. The rate at which ethanol appeared in the brain, as well and as the drug’s accumulation in and disappearance from the blood, was also measured to determine drug uptake and metabolism in the three age groups. The results indicate that old mice: are more sensitive to the central nervous system effects of ethanol, have a slower rate of ethanol uptake into both blood and brain, and metabolize ethanol more slowly than 6 and 12 month old mice. Twelve month old mice differ from 6 month old mice only in the rate at which ethanol is metabolized. All three groups of mice were equally capable of developing acute tolerance to ethanol.


Central Nervous System Ethanol Concentration Drug Uptake Ethanol Uptake System Sensitivity 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Ritzman, R. F., and Tabakoff, B.: Strain differences on the development of tolerance to ethanol, in Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology, edited by Begleiter, H., and Kissen, B., New York, Plenum Press, 1979. (In press.)Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Sokoloff, L.: Circulation and energy metabolism of the brain, in Basic Neurochemistry, edited by Albers, R. W., Siegel, G. J., Katzman, R., and Agranoff, B. W., Boston, Little Brown and Co., pp 388–413, 1972.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Sun, A. Y. and Samorajski, T.: The effects of age and alcohol on (Na+K+)-ATPase activity of whole homogenate and synaptosomes prepared from mouse and human brain. J. Neurochem., 24: 161–164, 1975.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Vestal, R. E., McQuire, E. A., Tobin, J. D., Andres, R., Norris, A. H., and Mezey, E.: Aging and ethanol metabolism. Clin. Pharmacol. Therapeut., 21: 343–354, 1977.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Kato, R., Vassanelli, P., Frontino, G., and Chiesaca, E.: Variation in the activity of liver microsomal drug-metabolizing enzymes in rats and relation to their age. Biochem. Pharmacol., 13: 1037–1051, 1964.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Abel, E. L.: Effects of ethanol and pentabarbital in mice of different ages. Physiol. Psychol., 3: 366–368, 1978.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Collins, A. C., Yeager, T. N., Lebsack, M. E., and Panter, S.: Variations in alcohol metabolism: influences of sex and age. Pharmacol. Biochem. Behavior, 3: 973–978, 1975.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Wiberg, G. S., Samson, J. M., Maxwell, W. B., Caldwell, B. B., and Trenholm, H. L.: Further studies on the acute toxicity of ethanol in young and old rats: relative importance of pulmonary excretion and total body water. Toxicol. Appl. Pharmacol., 20: 22–29, 1971.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Tabakoff, B., and Ritzmann, R. F.: The effects of 6-hydroxydopamine on tolerance to and dependence on ethanol. J.Pharmacol. Exper. Therapeut., 203: 319–331, 1977.Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Tabakoff, B., Anderson, R. A., and Ritzmann, R. F.: Brain acetaldehyde following ethanol administration. Biochem. Pharmacol., 25: 1305–1311, 1976.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© American Aging Association, Inc. 1980

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. F. Ritzmann
    • 1
  • Alan Springer
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Physiology and BiophysicsUniversity of Illinois Medical CenterChicago

Personalised recommendations